Publicis Groupe Middle East launches a region-first programme targeting retired professionals
Posted on 2023 Apr,12

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Publicis Groupe, the integrated marketing and advertising network, is launching a first-of-its-kind internship programme for retired professionals aged 60 years and older. Also known as a ‘returnship’, this bespoke programme provides opportunities to an often-forgotten segment of society by re-integrating them into an inclusive and meaningful environment. 

Titled ‘The Grand Masters’, this is one of two internship programmes launched by the Talent Transformation team at Publicis Groupe designed to upskill the industry’s capabilities with new outlooks and insights. The other, titled ‘The Apprentices’, targets university students planning a career in the advertising industry.

The Grand Masters is a region-first programme targeting retired professionals who want to give back their time and knowledge to solving problems or challenges in society and making meaningful contributions to people and communities. The Grand Masters internship will involve generating insights that will help develop communications, advertising, media, PR, and digital solutions for some of the Groupe’s key clients in the region. Tasks include ideation and brainstorming with the team, insights mining, everyday mentorship, and strategic thought leadership contribution.

The design concept is based on the “Above” and “Below” principle to define age groups, utilising a circle as the primary shape to indicate inclusion in a community. The intentional use of the colour ‘Orange’ embodies the energy and coolness of the retirees. The circle above the line alludes to the growth they’ve achieved and the opportunity to learn from them.

The Grand Masters is open to all individuals of all backgrounds who have worked in the region across any industry and role and are 60 years of age or older. The programme duration is open and is flexible to accommodate the individual however, participants are required to engage a minimum of 4 hours a day, 3 days a week.

Tahaab Rais, Chief Strategy Officer at Publicis Groupe ME&T says, “The inspiration for The Grand Masters came from experiences with elders I’ve always had the benefit of learning from and bouncing ideas with. My dad’s stories are always insightful, as is his feedback on the work I’m creating. And I’ve always wondered why, as an industry that’s rightfully fascinated by youth, we don’t also tap into the ones who have come before us and have tremendous life wisdom. Consciously excluding their expertise and their world smarts is a missed opportunity by agencies and brands. They don’t believe they’re done yet. So, who are we to assume that? Hence, we’re focusing intently on consciously including them in our thinking process as part of our strategy community working on our brands and can’t wait for our work for those brands to get even richer with them becoming us. We’re also excited to cater to the next generation as well through The Apprentices programme by creating an enriching and exciting opportunity for young students to experience working in a world-class strategic environment and culture.”

Sewar Azzouni, Head of Talent Transformation ME&T says, “When our core principle is to be a Talent first organisation, and our value as a Talent team is to drive with equity and meritocracy, it is natural that eradicating ageism and the stereotyping of age fits in brilliantly with the launch of these internship programmes. Participants that are perpetual students of learning will be the protagonist in contributing and adding value to our Talents, especially The Grand Master candidates who will bring in experiences, maturity, knowledge, capability and parental love. We are excited to launch this region-first internship programme initially as a pilot in the UAE within the strategy and insights team, and we are confident that it will have a positive impact allowing us to recreate it across all our markets.”

The second internship programme, ‘The Apprentices’ provides opportunities for university students currently enrolled in a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree programme and planning a career in the creative and media industry.  The Apprentices intern will have the opportunity to upskill his or her capabilities in the advertising industry and gain valuable hands-on experience in their field of interest. Tasks include creative brief writing, creative ideation, and insights generation. There is also a segment involving a unique trendspotting model. High-performing interns will also be prioritised for full-time employment in the future.

The Apprentices is available to students 18 years of age and older and who are currently enrolled in an accredited university or college where an internship is a requirement for graduation. The internship is open to those studying disciplines related to the creative industry or fields of innovation. Interns will be required to commit to a minimum of 6 hours a day, 5 days a week or as stated by the university.

The visual identity is designed to be striking, like that of The Grand Masters. The ‘Green’ in the logo is meant to embody the freshness and rawness of youth. The line above the circle alludes to the opportunity to grow and stand out through the programme.

Both programmes will be launched for the UAE initially with plans to develop and expand to other markets where Publicis Groupe has a presence. Participants must agree to a set of rules of engagement, which includes maintaining data confidentiality at all times throughout and after their internship. Upon successful completion of the internship, all interns will receive an official certification from Publicis Groupe.